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Old 02-13-2011, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
7,946 posts, read 15,666,426 times
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Technology enthusiasts envision a world where online retail completely replaces brick-and-mortar. Slowly but surely we are moving in that direction. Electronics retailers have already by and large moved entirely online (with the exception of specialty stores like the Apple store) and it appears bookstores are next. Stores like Best Buy don't have near the selection they used to have. It appears the lower prices of online retailers have wooed consumers into shrugging off the negatives of the retail medium (poor/inconvenient customer service, long waits for shipping). Some techies are predicting that within 5 years, brick-and-mortar retail as we know it today will no longer exist.

It is starting to look like the dot-com entrepreneurs of the late '90s had the right idea, they were just a decade too early. Does anybody think we will reach a point where brick-and-mortar stores no longer even exist, and all retail is done online?
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:46 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
Technology enthusiasts envision a world where online retail completely replaces brick-and-mortar. Slowly but surely we are moving in that direction. Electronics retailers have already by and large moved entirely online (with the exception of specialty stores like the Apple store) and it appears bookstores are next. Stores like Best Buy don't have near the selection they used to have. It appears the lower prices of online retailers have wooed consumers into shrugging off the negatives of the retail medium (poor/inconvenient customer service, long waits for shipping). Some techies are predicting that within 5 years, brick-and-mortar retail as we know it today will no longer exist.

It is starting to look like the dot-com entrepreneurs of the late '90s had the right idea, they were just a decade too early. Does anybody think we will reach a point where brick-and-mortar stores no longer even exist, and all retail is done online?

The first to go have been record stores - naturally stuff that people are most comfortable not only shopping for online, but actually downloading, is going to stop being brick and mortar first. OTOH we STILL have brick and mortar game stores.

For items where downloading is not an option, but online shopping is like electronics, I am not so sure. I havent noticed a weakening in selection at Best Buy. TO the extent big box electronics stores have lost, thats been to discounters like Walmart and Target, as well as online stores like Newegg, I think. I think it varies with the product - folks want to SEE a TV - not so much with a PC video card, lets say.

Things where people want to look and touch, and even try on, will be the last to go, and may await some further tech innovations. I mean we have purchased clothing on line, but mostly after shopping in brick and mortar, and only from stores with a brick and mortar presence.

In books, (as in some other categories) I would suggest Big Box retailers are a lot more vulnerable than boutiques.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:46 PM
 
Location: In America's Heartland
929 posts, read 1,941,270 times
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Default Buying online

Many people are going to the big box stores to see, feel and touch say their new TV or whatever and then buying the same item online for less. Though I've seen prices at Wal-Mart lately that are beating TV prices online. I've also talked to people who went to Wal-Mart to buy and were told they were out of stock in the store, but could purchase it from Wal-Mart's website.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
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Oh yeah I remember stores like Wherehouse Music, Disc Jockey, FYE, Sam Goody, etc. They have been for the most part gone over half a decade now. Most recently in Best Buy I've noticed they are down to only one row of music and one row of software. Unbelievable..those sections used to be 2/3 of the store. They still have a decent selection of movies especially blu-ray being that online streaming doesn't quite match the picture quality of a 1080p disc. It is a shame though for items like PC hardware you no longer even have a brick-and-mortar option in most places even if it's at a higher price.

Online shopping is very inconvenient for apartment dwellers especially if the office hours are poor (my complex's office is only open M-F 11am to 3pm and I don't have time to swing by during my lunch break to claim any shipments). So shopping online is not an option for me unless I have it shipped to a friend's place or something. I am sure others are in the same boat. Its also inconvenient when you need something in a crunch and to have something overnighted (which usually means 2-3 days instead of the usual 5-7), you end up paying the same or more than you would have at a brick and mortar.

Last edited by bchris02; 02-13-2011 at 05:13 PM..
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Sverige och USA
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Not all retail. I think goods that are reliant on personal taste is safe. For example, a lot of people are not comfortable buying online for clothes, shoes, etc. The colors are dependent on monitors, resolution etc. I'd rather try it on to get the feel of it rather than getting it and then sending it back, etc. Retail stores that sell large items such as home improvement stores are also safer as cost of shipping may outweigh any significant savings. Also, people prefer to see things like wallpaper, etc. in real life rather than on the monitor. However, retail stores that sell commodity goods such as music, books, movies, games, etc. will be headed online.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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Retail will never go away completely. People mention the decline of the national music retailers...but most larger cities will have a few used music shops (for vinyl collectors, etc). I think while some national chains will decline, you will see more opportunity for independent "niche" businesses to thrive.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:05 PM
 
Location: The North
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If it were true then lots of things which could theoretically happen online would have much larger shares. Take insurance for a good example. While some online only players are gaining in revenues, they are by no means putting the old-fashioned insurance agent out of business. Even with $10 or less stock trading available, financial advisors is a growing field. Even though a pharmacy in the US or a foreign country could fill your prescription for less and do it more conveniently in the case of recurring prescriptions getting mailed to the home, 95+% of the business still goes to a B&M pharmacist.

What it comes down to is the higher dollar value items such as financial products or items viewed as very safety related like prescriptions, people are very leery of buying online. They still want expert advice or they still want to touch and feel the product before buying. They will gladly give up some cost to get service. But when it comes to a song or a cheap electronic gadget then people don't see any value in the service which might be offered in buying a product and don't need to get comfortable with the product when its such a small dollar amount.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:47 AM
 
5,725 posts, read 9,041,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
Oh yeah I remember stores like Wherehouse Music, Disc Jockey, FYE, Sam Goody, etc. They have been for the most part gone over half a decade now. Most recently in Best Buy I've noticed they are down to only one row of music and one row of software. Unbelievable..those sections used to be 2/3 of the store. They still have a decent selection of movies especially blu-ray being that online streaming doesn't quite match the picture quality of a 1080p disc. It is a shame though for items like PC hardware you no longer even have a brick-and-mortar option in most places even if it's at a higher price.

Online shopping is very inconvenient for apartment dwellers especially if the office hours are poor (my complex's office is only open M-F 11am to 3pm and I don't have time to swing by during my lunch break to claim any shipments). So shopping online is not an option for me unless I have it shipped to a friend's place or something. I am sure others are in the same boat. Its also inconvenient when you need something in a crunch and to have something overnighted (which usually means 2-3 days instead of the usual 5-7), you end up paying the same or more than you would have at a brick and mortar.

Yep.

I see a 'melding' happening. The Wallmart example above.

There is a need for things 'right now'.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:16 AM
 
5,656 posts, read 17,873,392 times
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Yeah, it is real depressing to see all the stores closing in my town. There are so many empty commercial real estate spaces, this including restaurants and offices

I think the small niche record/music shops survive because they supplement with doing ebay and online sales. This is just the way to do business now.

I was just thinking yesterday that I miss record stores. I was in Borders and they only have one small section with music now. I bought a book there though I go through Amazon for many of my books and e-books.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:20 AM
 
21,153 posts, read 19,042,077 times
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LOL, No. Brick and mortar stores will be here 50 years from now, if anything is still around. People generally buy things online that they can't find in stores nearby. People like to look at things before they buy. Clothes, shoes, household goods, you name it. Food, almost exclusively.
I'd steer clear of any compnay touting online sales as a way to replace concentional stores. They'll be a niche market or a clearance house for unsold goods. I buy things online but only because there's no way I can find everything I want in stores.
Internet readers, that is a big maybe. I do read alot online but I'm not going to lug around an electronic device to watch TV or read when I'm out. I like to keep aware of the world around me. And there's concern about a solar flare wiping out the electric grid that can happen at any time. If that happens people will suddenly be back to books and transistor radios for months at least.
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